Caring for Salamanders

A basic guide in the care of these feisty amphibians.

Also known as water dogs and mudpuppies, salamanders can make for a very interesting animal. Their skin displays some amazing patters, and they make excellent pets for enthusiasts, and children. They are also cheap to care for making them an ideal pet for the economically minded.



Salamanders can be found in most damp, swampy areas in the leaf litter or near the waters edge. They have also been know to fall into the basement window ditches of houses. You can find them under rotting logs, large rocks, in caves. Pretty much anywhere there is shade and moisture. They love to come out at night to eat night crawlers, so this is an ideal time to find them. Just get yourself a flashlight and a net, and go out looking near water sources. They are also sold in pet stores in their adult forms.



A ten gallon aquarium can easily house two salamanders, or a large plastic critter carrier makes a good, cheap home for a single pet. Whatever you choose, be sure to clean it out before hand. Salamanders are amphibians, so they absorb water and chemicals through their skin which can make them sick. Once that’s done, you have to choose a substrate. There are many to choose from: sand, fish tank marble rocks, gravel, mud, leaves, but my favorite is moss. most of these items hold moisture well, which is important because salamanders love water. Once you have that taken care of, you can either put about an inch of water in the tank, or you can get a large, shallow water dish. Either choice is fine. Your pet will slip into the dish whenever it feels dried out. If you get a salamander that is still in its larval form (has feathery gills on the sides of its head) use the same setup as you would a fish tank. You wont need to keep the water ass deep, and you should provide a large rock or piece of wood above the water level for them to climb out on when they mature. When this happens, drain the water until it is about twice as deep as your pet is tall. Eventually the gills and fin-like tail will disappear, and he will be ready for the adult setup. There are few other considerations for a salamander tank. They don’t need any kind of heating. Their tank should be cleaned out about once a week. They don’t like bright lights or heat lamps. But you should make sure they have a lid; some species are good climbers.



Salamanders can eat surprisingly big meals. The aquatic larvae will eat fish, and even smaller salamanders if they are hungry enough. Their ideal food is night crawlers, shrimp/krill, small goldfish, and reptile sticks (though it can be tricky to teach them to eat these.) the best time to feed your pet is late afternoon when it starts to get dark, but after your pet gets used to its home, it will start to come out earlier. Salamanders snap up anything that moves (and even a few things that don’t) so you won’t have to worry about them not eating. Just don’t overfeed them. A fat salaamed is an unhealthy one.



Although salamanders will eat anything small enough to fit in their mouths, you can put in companion animals of comparable size such as toads and other salamanders. As long as you keep your pets well fed, they should get along just fine, but be careful when throwing a night crawler in with two salamanders; they might fight over it. In the wild salamanders can sometimes be found in large herds of up to a hundred or more.



Sexing a mature salamander is easy in early spring during their mating season. The male is larger and at this time his testis swell up. You will notice two bulges at the base of the tail. The females “plump up” at this time, putting on body fat to help develop of eggs. breeding , though something I highly encourage due to decreasing salamander populations, can be a bit tricky. The easiest way to do it is to move your tank out to a shed or garage when winter starts. This will make them hibernate which is important. When the snow starts to melt, bring your pets back inside. Once they wake up, create some rain with a sprayer or hose once a day. All you need do now is provide a suitable place for them to lay eggs, which sadly I can’t tell you how to do because it varies from species to species. Some lay their eggs in water, others in damp leaves. If you are serious about breeding them, learn what species you have, and do more detailed research. If successful, raise the young until they are mature and then release them where you found the parents (provided they are a native species) this is a good way to help replenish the losses of these creatures caused by habitat destruction. They are a necessary part of the ecosystem and must be maintained.



For the most part I recommend against handling salamanders. They are a bit nippy, and some exotic species secrete toxins through their skin which can be harmful. If you do touch your pet for any reason, as with all reptiles and amphibians, WASH YOUR HANDS.

Other Considerations


Mud puppies are actually a different species than salamanders that can stay in their larval state for years until conditions change enough for them to come onto land; they can even mate in this form. The largest salamanders in the world live in Asia and is several feet long, and very aggressive. Salamanders are becoming harder to find due to deforestation, so unless you know how to breed the species in your area, please get one from a store.

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User Comments
  1. emaly

    On August 5, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    where can i find a salamander????

  2. Togot

    On August 6, 2008 at 2:36 am

    Emaly, depending on where you live, salamanders live near rivers, streams and lakes; they like to hide in leaf litter and damp areas. you’ll have to have a keen eye, but i’m sure you can find one if you try

  3. CourtneyRae

    On October 12, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I found mine on the side of the road in the country…. probably heading for water. they are everywhere this time of year tho

  4. Amber

    On December 30, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I hold my salamander all the time. It curls up on me and crawls on me. Its one of nicest salamanders Ive ever had. Some salamanders can be like this…maybe.

  5. Max

    On January 6, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    My salamander seems to be sleeping alot lately. Is he hibernating? or is he clinically depressed? What would the dose of Zoloft be for a 7.5 inch critter named Sparky?

  6. Togot

    On January 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Max, it is most likely a form of hibernation brought on by the colder months. my turtles become very lethargic during this time of year and refuse to eat anything until spring time. it shouldn’t be anything to worry about

  7. Nadia

    On February 26, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    So you really shouldn’t hold salamanders? I am thinking about getting one for a pet, but I want to be able to handle it and play with it.

  8. Togot

    On February 27, 2009 at 2:38 am

    Nadia, for the most part, salamanders don’t like being held. you can pick them up and hold them, but don’t expect them to play with you. they are slippery little things that will probably try to escape from you, or bite at your fingers if they feel threatened.

  9. Gemma

    On March 19, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Can you tell me of a search engine where i can find what type of salamander is mine as the woman in the shop said she didn’t know. He’s brownish green all over but his belly is cream with a bright orange stripe all the way from the head to the tail with little brown freckles all around it. I was told he might be a skint but i am not entirely sure and i’ve been all over google trying to find out. Also he has no neck i know that sounds weird, and he’s just shed his first skin he was about an inch long when i got him and now he’s about 2 inches i need to know just incase i should get a bigger tank thanks form Gemma
    please e-mail me at

  10. Audra

    On March 28, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    I found my salamander when we were having our concrete pourch busted up to poor a new pourch. He was under the rock. I believe he is a northwestern salamandor, or a mole salamander. This will be the third day that I have had him, and I have given him crickets and mill worms. He will not eat. How warm or cool does the tank need to be? Today I went to check on him and I picked him up and he had a green slimy like substance on him, does anyone know what that is?

  11. Togot

    On March 29, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    Gemma, i’m afraid i don’t know of any search engine for identifying specific species.

    Audra, Room temperature should be fine for a salamander. Try feeding him an earthworm. Like most cold blooded animals, salamanders enter a hibernation faze during this time of year even if they are warm so he might still be a little lethargic. I’m not sure about the slime. It might just be normal mucus that they use to keep moist, or he may have shed his skin recently.

  12. Fred

    On April 13, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    I have looked everywhere for a salamander and i still can’t find one is it to cold on April,13/09. I have looked in water creeks and lakes. I live in Camrose, Alberta but i live in the country is there even salamanders living in Alberta?

  13. Fred

    On April 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    If there is plz tell me everywhere i should look for sals…. i really want one… thank you.

  14. Fred

    On April 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    And could you tell me when they come out of hibernation

  15. Sami

    On April 13, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    i love salamanders!!!!!

  16. Togot

    On April 13, 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Fred, I’m afraid I don’t know much about that area. I live in Illinois, and here it’s still too cold for salamanders to be coming out just yet. as for where to look, anyplace that has a water source and damp underbrush is usually a prime spot for salamanders. you can even make traps for them by digging a small hole and dropping in some damp leaves to attract them. If you still have no luck catching a wild animal, many pet stores sell them.

  17. Bobby Jack

    On April 16, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Hey I’m Bobby Jack! (You know, the monkey?) Well I was thinking about getting a salamander and I was wondering if they have to stay in dark places. Can you help me out?

  18. Togot

    On April 16, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    Bobby Jack, as long as you provide a hiding place within the enclosure, you should be able to place the it in any room.

  19. Charlotte & Natasha

    On April 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    We have lots of salamanders around where we live in the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz Mountains. They are the dark brown-reddish kind. Ours is pretty small, but does not have the gills on the outside any more. Maybe he is a baby salamander. We found him under a flower pot. We are building him a small home out of a plastic rectangle container. Now we are going to try and find him some food. Like earthworks and centipedes.

  20. hunter

    On April 21, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    how do you find a salmender

  21. Togot

    On April 23, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    hunter, Salamanders can be found in most damp, swampy areas in the leaf litter or near the waters edge. They have also been know to fall into the basement window ditches of houses. You can find them under rotting logs, large rocks, in caves. Pretty much anywhere there is shade and moisture. They love to come out at night to eat night crawlers, so this is an ideal time to find them. Just get yourself a flashlight and a net, and go out looking near water sources. They are also sold in pet stores in their adult forms.

  22. Dave

    On May 5, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    hi i have had a slaamander for 3 days is a baby. about 2 inchs including tail. i have reptial sticks but i dont think its eatting them. so i cut up a worm and made 3 peices.

    Do u think it will eat it? even tho its bigger than its mouth?.its heas is about a cm.

    also i keep thinking its dead so i poke it sometimes. but i think i hurt it? it went under a rock once i did this but i wasnt trying to hurt it!

    will it be ok?

  23. Togot

    On May 6, 2009 at 5:02 am

    Dave, i don’t think you hurt it, but you probably stressed it and it wanted to hide to feel safe. try feeding it smaller worms and insects such as ants.

  24. kkasey

    On May 22, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    i have a salamander that my little brother found today. we dont no anything about salamanders. it is about 1.5-2″ long and is a dark muddy brown color. plz & thank you

  25. Togot

    On May 22, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Kkasey, i’m afraid i’m not really sure what your asking me. if you want to know about basic salamander care, just read the article, and if there are any questions that it doesn’t cover, ask me and i will try to answer

  26. hunter mason

    On May 28, 2009 at 11:55 am

    hi,im a girl who found a baby salamander about 2 inches big.i put in a jar with a paper towel on top.the jar is not very big.but my grandparents dont really want to buy a critter cage either.i cant get any thing for it to eat either.i need help.what do i do?

  27. hunter mason

    On May 28, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    and i think my salamander is either solid black or black with an orange stripe down his back and does he need holes poked in the paper towel or can he breath through the paper towel?

  28. Togot

    On May 28, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    hunter mason, although paper towels are not air tight, better safe than sorry. as for food, look under logs and rocks for beetles, worms, and any other insects small enough for it to eat. you can also go to a pet store and buy crickets.

  29. hunter mason

    On May 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm

    thanks.i bought dried krill fish u think he will eat it?i broke it in half.can he break through paper towel?

  30. hunter mason

    On May 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    do you know what type he is?i explained what he looks like.plz.and thank you

  31. hunter mason

    On May 29, 2009 at 7:25 am



    On May 29, 2009 at 1:59 pm


  33. Togot

    On May 29, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    HUNTER MASON, Salamanders prefer moving, live food, such as worms and insects. Though I doubt the krill is what killed him. What exactly did you have in the jar with him? Salamanders need to be kept moist in order to survive, but chlorinated water can kill them.

  34. hunter mason

    On May 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    i had a stick,water, another lizard,krill,and him in it.i think the lizard killed him.the lizard trampled him

  35. Hannah

    On June 24, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Hey Togot! I’m Hannah, and i’ve got a couple questions that i hope you can help me out with! ;D
    So I have 2 mole salamanders, I spent an hour on google trying to be 100% positive that they were infact mole salamanders. they are about 2-3inches long (roughly) they are black with blue/violet polka dots.
    ok question number one, how can you tell if its a boy or a girl?
    question number two, I have a 10gallon tank, what type of things should I put in it to make them feel at home?
    and question number three, should I get a heating lamp or something cooler for them?
    I read that they are most comfortable in 72 degreese F. I live in illinois. and its way hotter than that right now, so how can I make them feel most comfortable?

  36. Togot

    On June 25, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Hannah, male salamanders are larger with longer tails and their testis tend to swell during mating season. Females grow fatter. Depending on whether or not they are still aquatic, you’ll either need to tank of water with some cover in it and a dock you pets cam can climb out on when they wish to change, or a moist moss substrate with a hiding place and water dish. Salamanders don’t need too much heat and they dislike birth lights. I also live in Illinois, so I know what you mean about the heat. I put my frogs down in the basement where it’s a little cooler, but if you can’t do that, just keep them in the shade.

  37. Hannah

    On July 2, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Yeah I live in the basement so thats where they are at right now. I have baked moss (that i got wet) on top of muck, with a fake log for them to hide under, they seem to like it alot! They like to barry themselves, its so cute! then about 6 inches (in lenght) of water, with some rocks around it for them to “sun tan” ;D
    however, I’m having another issue.
    How often should I feed them, and what exactly should I feed them.
    I bought extra small crickets, and i’m not sure if they ate them or not, because someone just put them in the tank and didnt listen to me when I said we should feed them in a seperate container…
    is it a good idea to feed them in a seperate container, just to ensure that they are eating? Or should I just put the food in the tank and let them hunt for it?
    When I cleaned out their tank I found most of the crickets dead in the muck, this is why I am asking..

  38. Togot

    On July 2, 2009 at 2:31 am

    Hannah, Salamanders eat a variety of things including insects, small fish, but they love worms, especially night crawlers. Putting them in a separate feeding container isn’t a bad idea, especially if you’re finding out what foods they like and don’t like. Like most predators, salamanders key in on movement. Try wiggling a worm in front of its face, and it should bite. Just be careful with your fingers. As for how often you feed them, depending on their size, about one or two worms a day should be fine. They can be voracious little guys.

  39. alma

    On July 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    We got a water dog from the pet store and they said it would turn into a tiger salamander. Our friend got their water dog from the same pet store and theirs turned into a salamander within two weeks. Ours has been in the same state for about 3 months now. Will he ever turn into a salamander? How long does it take for them to turn to their adult state. My son is getting anxious about his pet, “Tigger”.

  40. Togot

    On July 21, 2009 at 2:33 am

    Alma, it depends on age, and environment. If there is too much water and no land to crawl onto, they can stay aquatic for the rest of their lives. A friend of mine had one for two years in an aquarium filled completely with water. After I told him to drain most of the water and put in some land, it changed within a week.

  41. acey

    On August 1, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    i have found around a hundered salamanders in my back yard i think they are tiger salamanders (they are black with a orange strip) i have a old fish tank but it is only 15inches long and 30inches high, is that big enough for 2 or even 1?

    will they eat just normal cut up worms?
    i have read your artical but they have veary small mouthes.
    please help!

  42. Togot

    On August 3, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Acey, A ten gallon aquarium usually works best with salamanders. As for food, if earthworms are too big, try red wrigglers. They are much smaller.

  43. veronica

    On October 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    togot my daughter just found a salamander in a bucket what do i need to do 4 it we have turltes in a tank can we put him with them

  44. Hester

    On November 4, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you for all your helpful info.
    I found a Northern 2-lined salamander last week. I’m familiar with salamanders, where they live etc. but didn’t know, for example, about how to determine the sex.
    I work at an Environmental Education Center and we like to keep critters for show. Most of them we only keep for a limited time and then release. I want to teach proper handling of them but don’t want to make children think that salamanders are something to fear. I know about their sensative skin and toxins that they can produce but do you know if any of the adult salamanders in the East Coast are paticularly toxic? Do some not produce toxins at all?
    Also It’s nice to get advice from someone who has experience with keeping salamanders. Thanks again.

  45. Togot

    On November 10, 2009 at 4:29 am

    Hester, males are larger with longer tails. Their testes swell up in early spring in preparation for mating season while females become fatter. I’m afraid I’m not familiar with any specific species of that region, but salamander toxins are mostly dangerous if ingested, so washing your hands thoroughly after handling them should keep you safe.

  46. Dane Reising

    On November 20, 2009 at 3:16 am

    I JUST FOUND A SALAMANDER NOT TOO LONG AGO WHEN I WAS MUSHROOM PICKING! he was in a damp area next to a rotting tree under some leaves. Completely stumbled across him on accident. Best believe i brought him home, and lives happily ever after?

  47. poop

    On February 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    guess what i like cheeeeeeeeeeese

  48. jamie

    On February 9, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    i work in an aquatics shop and we had been selling axolotls for some time one escaped some time ago we are thinking about 3 months ago, yesterday whilst changing a system filter i fought i had found the dead axolotl as i went to pick it up it started moving and tried biting me and i have looked this up and found that in rear conditions and axolotl can evolve in to a salamander. really cool stuff o and he is albino …..

  49. Anita

    On April 8, 2010 at 12:05 am

    We just bought a salamander but we don’t know what type it is. It’s grayish with black spots. We’re under the impression that the tank needs to be 3/4 full of water and it just swims and floats in it all day long as that’s how we bought it. However after doing some research on Google, it looks like it should be a dry environment with a water dish or pool for it to soak in when it wants to. How do we know if we’re doing the right thing? We’ve had it for about 5 days and it’s looking very skinny and sick, its skin is breaking out and flaking away, and red blotches are starting to show. I’m afraid it’s going to die in a few more days.

  50. Togot

    On April 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Anita, it depends on whether or not it is still in its larval form. If your salamander has gills and a paddle tail, it should be fine in water. If it has matured and has a fat tail and no gills, then a land based setup would be better, but not dry. Salamanders are amphibians and most will die if they get too dry. Moss substrate with plenty of moisture usually works pretty well with them. As for his skin. I can’t be sure without seeing for myself, but it sounds like he might be molting. to stop him from getting too thin, check to make sure he is eating. If he is, try increasing his food intake, if not hen he is most likely sick and should be taken to a vet.

  51. Anita

    On April 9, 2010 at 11:37 pm

    Thank you for replying! Ours has the gills and paddle tail, so we bought a larger aquarium with filter system for it. I also dug up earthworms as well as bought some crickets to feed him, he seems to be fattening back up and getting better. His skin blotches and redness have gone, I think the new aquarium with filter is giving him better quality water (with water conditioner of course). I’m so relieved he looks like he’s going to survive! There’s a pet shop just up the road that sells crickets and mealworms that I can pick up regularly for him.

  52. ashley

    On April 19, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    we have had a salamander for about a year and a half now. he has always eaten live crickets but only recently he has stopped eating. is he dying? do you have any suggestions for what we should do?

  53. Togot

    On April 21, 2010 at 3:32 am

    Ashley, try offering your pet something new to eat such as an earth worm. If that doesn’t work, your pet may be ill and you should take it to a vet

  54. cougar

    On May 2, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I own cows!!!!!!!!!!

  55. waterKow

    On July 28, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    hi, i just found about 30 salamanders when i was camping they were in small puddles in a small dried out stream i put three in a cup an took them home and now they are in a small tank with a fcloating log and alot of water. an they are still larvae but they are growing legs and i dont know what to feed them . can you help me?

  56. Togot

    On July 29, 2010 at 3:14 am

    WaterKow, try worms, beetles, crickets and small feeder fish

  57. waterKow

    On July 29, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Thank You, I also have another question, Should I put tiny Rocks on the bottom, or mud or nothing?rite now i have nothing on the bottom of the tank

  58. Togot

    On July 29, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    WaterKow, what you put at the bottom of your tank is a personal choice. rocks look nice, but make the tank harder to clean out because you have to rinse the rocks as well as the tank. mud isn’t a good idea because it will make the water cloudy, gunk up a filter, and anytime your pet stirs up the sediment that settles at the bottom, you won’t be able to see anything. I keep a very thin layer of aquarium stones at the bottom of my tanks because it looks nice and isn’t too much trouble to clean.

  59. Trina Mason

    On September 12, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I have a spotted salamander.. female.. tank has frog moss and water… she recently stopped eating crickets..what do I do?

  60. Togot

    On September 13, 2010 at 2:24 am

    Trina Mason, try alternative food sources. Salamanders love earth worms

  61. pam

    On September 21, 2010 at 8:56 am

    is a tiger salamandor safe to keep for kids?? I read they secrete toxins???

  62. Togot

    On September 21, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Pam, as long as you wash your hands after handling them, which is something you should do after handling any amphibian or reptile to avoid getting sick, you should be alright. Toxins secreted by animals though their skin is only dangerous if ingested, or if you get it in your eyes.

  63. Amww

    On September 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    I just inherited a blue spotted salamander and have no ifo on them. I know a 10 gallon tank is fine for them. I just need more info. do have a tree frog as well. Can they live together? And I know they eat crickets and worms, but if he doesn’t eat, how many days should I wait til I worry about him not eating? Are they okay to keep as pets

  64. Amee

    On September 23, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    I just inherited a blue spotted salamander and have no ifo on them. I know a 10 gallon tank is fine for them. I just need more info. do have a tree frog as well. Can they live together? And I know they eat crickets and worms, but if he doesn’t eat, how many days should I wait til I worry about him not eating? Are they okay to keep as pets

  65. Togot

    On September 24, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Amee, as long as they are the same relative size, they should be alright together, but if one is large enough to eat the other, it will. A 10 gallon tank should be alright. In cool conditions, they should be able to go over a week without food, but more than two days should make them hungry. They both make fine pets. Just make sure to wash your hands after handling them.

  66. BJ

    On October 16, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    my little sister found two salamanders they were a dark grey color with yellowish spots do you know what kind they were? also she caught them and put them in a tank with nothing but them and two days later they were really stiff and dead…… what happened?

  67. Togot

    On October 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    BJ, if she put them in a tank with nothing, then they probably dehydrated. Salamanders, like all amphibians need water to moisten their skin in order to survive. Without it, they’ll die pretty quickly. As for what species, I can’t tell by that description, but here is a site that might help you find out.

  68. richie

    On December 3, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    we found two black with blue spots on them the pet shop told me to feed them frozen blood worms but after reading all the post u put up i think i should try something else what about mill worms and one is bigger then the other is it ok to leave them togther thanks so much (richie)

  69. Heather

    On December 4, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I just found a salamander in a Christmas tree lot in Orange county. They men who work at the lot said it came out of the tree all the way from Oregon. I have a terrarium I can care for it but I don\’t knowwhat kind it is. Would it n better to release him on the local mountains? It is a muddy brown color with an orange-reddish belly and he\’s bumpy. What can I do to make him happy and give him the best chance to survive?

  70. Togot

    On December 4, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Richie, salamanders will eat just about anything small enough to swallow. Earthworms are one of the best foods since they are meaty and easy for them to swallow, but mealworms should be alright as well. Just remove any uneaten food as dead ones will grow mold quickly in a salamander’s moist environment. As long as the smaller salamander isn’t so small that he could easily be eaten, they should get along. Just keep an eye on them to make sure.

  71. Togot

    On December 4, 2010 at 6:30 am

    Heather, it’s never a good idea to release an animal in a non-native environment, and I’m not sure if that particular species is present in both regions. Here is a link to a site with a few species which should help you determine whether it’s safe to release it or not. If you do choose to keep him, simply follow the guide above. If you have any specific questions not covered in the care sheet, then feel free to ask more questions, and I will answer as best as I can.

  72. sykkema

    On January 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    I have salamanders constantly coming down my water pipe and into the filter, five of them (they are alive and well). It’s winter and I don’t know what to do with them. Where can I put them? This is the first time I look this up and I do not have a habitat set up, but I’m willing to do so if it means releasing them alive in the spring. Due to my salamander ignorance, two dissapeared, one was eaten and sadly two died.

  73. sykkema

    On January 14, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    I forgot to mention, the salamaders are native here in eastern Quebec Canada. They are small, blackish, must live in our surface well and abundent. If your wondering, we tested our water and it was perfect, so no, I do not find it gross that salamaders live in our well, there is a filter after all ;)

  74. Togot

    On January 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Sykkema, everything above should help you make a setup to care for them until spring. If there is a more specific question, feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer it. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about that region to say whether or not it would be a good idea to release them outside this time of year.

  75. danyell

    On January 22, 2011 at 1:03 am

    i have a tiger salamander i got him at christmas in the mall they were selling him as a baby dinosour and of course my son had to have him. i have kept him in full water up until now because he was still in his larve stage. i put him in a terranium setup tonight with a big bowl of water so he could start getting on the land when he wants his gills are not entirely gone though and he is running al over the tank i have declorinated water in the little water hole thing is this ok that he is running around even though his gills are not all the way gone? i have him a place to hide also. he seems happy but i just don’t want to be mistreating him. what do i do ??

  76. Togot

    On January 23, 2011 at 2:23 am

    Danyell, if he is functioning outside of the water, then he probably has working lungs. Just make sure the water dish is large enough for him to get in, and aerate it if you seem him spending large amounts of time in the water. The gills should disappear over time. You can also fill the tank with a few inches of water while leaving in large flat rocks that the salamander can crawl out on. When it starts spending more time out of the water than in, you know for sure that it’s lungs are working

  77. alisyn

    On April 10, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    i have multiple salamadners icatch them in my creek and i have them all in one tank and some r pregnate and u can see the eggs in there stomache but if uever need any salamanders just say something(i have to many)

  78. Heather

    On May 26, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Can a tiger salamander go from captivity into the wild if they came from the wild? I found a tiger salamander back in March it was a nice day but we knew the cold was going to come back so we took him into our house and set him up in an aquarium so he wouldn’t die but I was wondering if I can let him back into the wild and if he will be okay and not die?

  79. Togot

    On May 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Heather, yes he should be fine.

  80. megan louise thomas

    On June 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    i have leopard newtsx6 and salamandersx5 which i beleive are called accuses if they have big black spots on there belly and die if they have a spot about 2 mm wide

  81. logan

    On July 28, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    mine is about the size of a large paperclip, my mother found it in her work and i cant tell what kind it is. its black all over and has yellow spots on its face/nose and a stripe that reflects different colors when in light. also how old is it, what should i feed it at this stage and how old/ bid does it have to be before i can hold it.

  82. Togot

    On July 29, 2011 at 4:10 am

    Logan, not sure what species it is, but I’ll add a link that might help with that. Sounds pretty young. Try feeding it small worms and ants. You can hold it at almost any stage, you just have to be careful not to hurt it. If it’s still breathing with gills, make sure not to keep it out of the water for too long, and always wash your hands with antibacterial soap afterwards.

  83. Brandi

    On September 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    Hi, I just found 3 baby salamanders in my outdoor cats waterbowl I have since then gone and purchased a small tank and other various items to decorate and add hiding spots for them. I got fruit flies at the pet store and they didn’t seem interested in them so I got the smallest meal worm I could and put a few of them out. My baby salamanders are insanely small and I didn’t see them interested in the worms. Is there anything in particular I should do? I have plenty of water for them and gravel leading up so there is dry land, I want to make sure they eat and don’t get malnourished.

  84. Togot

    On September 13, 2011 at 3:11 am

    Brandi, you can try small bugs or red wriggler worms. They are small and thin.

  85. Brandi

    On September 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you Togot, I appreciate the info :) I will try the petstore for the red wriggler worms.

  86. BlindStargazer

    On October 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    I just found a salamander in my GARAGE. We’re about a mile from ANY water. This makes no sense…

  87. Thanatos

    On October 13, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Just found a spotted salamander in my window well for my basement. Thought it was funny that you mentioned it as one of the places they can be found. Looks just like these ones:
    I wanted to thank you for the info you gave as i didn’t have much insight into what kind of care they needed. It’s late but ill go get a tank tomorrow. Its quite large, nearly 7” end to end. My question is, despite the increasingly cold temperatures my house is still around 65-70 degrees. Will the salamander still become lethargic? When i caught it it just sat there as i slid it into the container barely moving. Just wondering what to expect. Thanks for everything and for being such an active responder to everyone’s questions.

  88. Thanatos

    On October 13, 2011 at 1:22 am

    A couple more questions (sorry for the double post)-
    I plan on having the habitat having some loose dirt and i was wondering if i should allow worms to be in it regularly or only every couple days for feeding. Also is the Salamander more likely to eat it if its placed on the ground or if its being held up with say tweasers or something. Will salamanders pull worms out of the soil?
    Also you mentioned that they bite. Is it enough to draw blood or just a pinch? I imagine it won’t be worse than a hamster.
    I know that salamanders eat insects so would ants be an alright part of the diet or would i be better with just worms and the other foods you mentioned?

  89. Togot

    On October 14, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Thanatos, if it’s that large, then it’s been living in the wild for awhile, so it might go into a hibernate state despite being indoors because it’s become part of its biorhythm. It’s accustomed to hibernating this time of year. For an older salamander that is used to hunting food, leaving worms in the tank should be fine. A bite from a salamander is a hard pinch that might be able to draw blood with larger ones if they are more aggressive. Ants will probably be too small for one that large. Earthworms and even pinkies should work.

  90. Linda

    On October 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    how cold is too cold for them to survive in garage over winter in illinois, and how deep should his sand be in the aquarium?

  91. Togot

    On October 20, 2011 at 4:15 am

    Linda, Anything below freezing is risking their safety. In the wild, salamanders can burry themselves deep enough to avoid the frost, but in a tank, they don’t have that luxury and can freeze. This is one of the biggest risks with keeping them outside for the winter.

  92. Stefan

    On November 11, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    I found a tiger salamander in my garden in Saskatoon, Canada, this morning. Don’t know how it got there but it isn’t a safe place. Where would be a good place to release it? It is late fall and mostly well below freezing here now, with snow on the ground.

  93. Togot

    On November 16, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Stefan, try to find a sheltered area, a cave or shed with a dirt floor. Someplace there isn’t snow with soil where the salamander can burry itself.

  94. Riley

    On November 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Togot, I found a Spotted Salamander when my dad was excavating our lawn in New Hampshire. I want to know if he will die if he dosn’t hibernate. Will he be okay if he dosn’t or will he just hibernate automatically?

  95. Riley

    On November 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Also, can these types of salamanders be kept as pets?

  96. julia

    On November 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Hi, we found a 2 inch baby salamander running across are floor .We tried feeding it and its been about four days .We tried feeding him this stuff called Reptomin baby which we found at the store .Is he not eating because its winter time .

  97. Togot

    On December 6, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Riley, if kept inside, he won’t need to hibernate if you feed and care for him, but if you place him outside, do so in a sheltered area where he wont freeze to death and will have time to dig in and hibernate.

  98. Togot

    On December 6, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Julia, try feeding him live food. Animals caught from the wild need time to acclimate to pellet foods

  99. TONYA

    On December 26, 2011 at 10:57 am


  100. Togot

    On January 4, 2012 at 5:50 am

    TONYA, how old is it? Do you have a land area for it to crawl out on? Some salamanders remain in their gilled form if all they have is water

  101. Stephen

    On January 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    We found a Salamander 2 days ago (think it is a Tiger) and decided to keep it as a pet for a few days to try it out. Since then the only thing I think it has eaten is possibly a worm. I have tried crickets, have two jumping around in the aquarium with him now, and pellet food but it still hasn’t eaten. How long is too long / when is the point that I should give up and should go find a creek to release it in? Is there another food you would suggest giving it? It is really non-responsive, even when a live cricket is put right in front of it, usually just turning it’s head away slightly. The only time it really moves much is when I handled it to check for spots or blisters or anything and it wouldn’t let me turn it over.

  102. Togot

    On January 11, 2012 at 4:24 am

    Stephen, sticking with worms is probably your best bet. You can try putting a heating pad under half the tank to see if that makes him more active and boosts his appetite.

  103. Dillon

    On January 11, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    hey i found a sally today ik what kind it is but can it live with a turtle of mine? i mean i know da water is a little to deep, but…. it lives in almost the requirements as the turtle (its a female) thx from alabama

  104. Togot

    On January 24, 2012 at 4:29 am

    Dillon, most aquatic turtles are carnivours that may try to eat a salamander, so i wouldn’t recomend it

  105. Giovanni

    On March 9, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    What do i do if my northern slimy salamanders tail got cut off, will it die or will its tail just grow back? PLEASE HELP!!!!! if you can email me at and post on this too.

  106. haley10

    On March 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    my name is haley my little brother found a salamander yesterday but we dont know what kind it is it is a blackish color

  107. Savannah

    On March 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Hi I found a baby salamander about an inch lOng and less than a fourth of an inch. I brought it home but it was not really moving but if you touched it it would move its arm a little bit or a leg. I made a habitat with mudd grass and water but this morning I went to check on it and it wasn’t moving even if I touched it. Even if it is still alive it is so tiny I don’t know what to feed it. It’s stayed in the place I’ve left it for the whole night and I found it yesterday. What do I do? What do you think?

  108. Savannah

    On March 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Hi I found a baby salamander about an inch lOng and less than a fourth of an inch. I brought it home but it was not really moving but if you touched it it would move its arm a little bit or a leg. I made a habitat with mudd grass and water but this morning I went to check on it and it wasn’t moving even if I touched it. Even if it is still alive it is so tiny I don’t know what to feed it. It’s stayed in the place I’ve left it for the whole night and I found it yesterday. What do I do? What do you think?

  109. sherol

    On March 11, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    hi, i found a couple of salamanders recently and for the past few days they were eating and moving around, but this morning when I went to check on them, they weren’t moving. Are they dead or just hibernating?

  110. Togot

    On March 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Giovanni, if it is young enough, it should be able to grow it back after a few molts. Some species lose their tails deliberately to get away from predators.

  111. Togot

    On March 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Savannah, it might be dehydrated or sick. Make sure there is plenty of moisture for it to absorb through its skin. As for food, try red wriggler worms. They work well for smaller pets. Also small worms that you can find in your yard should be ok to fatten him up.

  112. Togot

    On March 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Sherol, I really don’t think they would start hibernating in march, but I can’t say what is wrong with them from that description. Do they have enough water? How warm is the room they are in? what have you been feeding them?

  113. Michael

    On March 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    My tiger salamander has not eaten for several weeks and shows no interest in his normal foods. He (or she) has been drinking water, swelling up, and then peeing out the water. For the last few weeks he has also been pooping out yellow, mucusy blobs.
    In addition, he has been spening a lot of time with his eyes closed, sometimes just one eye.
    I have had him for years, and have never seen this behavior.
    How can I get him to eat again?
    And is there anything else I can do to get him healthy again?

  114. Togot

    On April 2, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Michael, my advice would be to take him to an exotic vet. If you’ve had him for years, it might be old age or a deficiency in his diet.

  115. Joey

    On April 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I found a yellow spotted salamander under a board last august and i took it home. I put him in a small plastic container with loose dirt and moss. I have been putting a couple earthworms in every week and he is still alive so he seems to be eating them. i have read that adults can get up to 9inches long, mine is only 2inches long and has not grown since i first got him. Should he be this small? I recently put him in a ten gallon tank to see if that is why he wasn’t growing. In the tank i have a small water bowl, a rock, loose dirt and a fake plant. whenever he tries to swim in the water bowl he cant because its not big enough. Should I get a bigger water bowl? Also, he has been acting very sluggish lately, why? How can i start hand feeding him? Yesterday i took a small earthworm and wiggled it in front of his face and he didn’t move at all. Can you give me some help Please.

  116. Joey

    On April 25, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    What salamander or newt are you able to hold for a long period of time?

  117. Togot

    On April 29, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Joey, salamanders don’t grow overnight so be patient. A larger water dish couldn’t hurt. Handling your pet to get it used to you will help it be less timid when feeding. You shouldn’t handle your pet for too long at any given time however as it might stress it out.

  118. linda

    On May 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    I have had my salamander since last spring in my house in a old aquarium. About Oct/Nov he went under the dirt to the bottom of the cage, he is still alive as I can see him through the bottom of the tank breathing and he has moved around the bottom, but he has not come out since he went into hibernation and has not eaten anything since then. should I dig down and make him come out? I keep the tank moist, but wondering if I should be worried as he hasn’t come out

  119. Togot

    On May 11, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Linda, try warming the tank slightly to let him know it’s time to wake up. this will get him to come out of it naturally

  120. Paul

    On August 8, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Hey, I really need help with my red back salamanders. While I was doing something, my mom put the salamander on an Airconditioner, I was afraid so I put them in warm water and now they’re all frozen in a stiff pose. Please help.

  121. maggie

    On August 13, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    i got a salamander yesterday and i found this website last night and fixec it a tank and when i got up this mooring it is fine but their is something on a rock in the tank and it looks like a baby but im not sure

  122. Patricia

    On August 27, 2012 at 12:13 am

    My son and I have found tons of baby mudpuppies in a few different creeks. We brought some home and cant seem to keep them alive. Thy are only about an inch long and smaller. I heard they have to be in moving water, is that true? Should we keep them in an aquarium w a setup like for fish, with filter and airsupply? What can we feed them being they are so tiny. I basically know nothing but would like to raise some. Can someone give me info on how to care for them so tiny, even water temp\’s exc..Thnks, Patricia

  123. Togot

    On September 11, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Patricia, mudpuppies can get territorial and become aggressive with each other, so keeping more than one requires giving them both a lot of space. They need something kind of shelter in their tank to hide in for security, or they will become stressed. They prefer cooler water, so you may need a chiller to keep it in the 60 degree range. A filter can keep the water clean and provide the current you are looking for. And make sure you remove any chlorine from the water in their tank.

  124. Jubejube

    On September 27, 2012 at 12:53 am

    This spring i found baby salamander larvae ain my backyard pond and i raised one from a baby on a diet of chopped up earthworms. Now Newton is about 2 1/2 inches long and i believe he is a blue spotted salamander. He is sooo cute, but creepy at times because he is looking at something and then he turns his head slowly and looks at you. Lol. When he grows into an adult i hope to get a wood frog friend for him or just another blue spotted sal for him. In the meantime he is more than thriving in a 10 gallon aquarium on a diet of worms and flightless fruit flies. Blue spotted salamanders are the best!

  125. steve

    On October 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    my salamanders wont move they only move there tails

  126. steve

    On October 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    My salamanders won’t move they only move there tails.

  127. Brittany

    On October 14, 2012 at 2:42 am

    What type of lid is best for a tiger salamander? He\’s in a fish tank type of house.

  128. Tracy

    On October 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    found a large salamander yesterday in a wood pile was afraid it would freeze cuz his spot got messed up and the temp. is dropping and i think he was getting ready for winter. so i called a pet store and he told me to put him in an aquarium with wet leaves and put him in an unheated basement for the winter. to keep it moist but not to feed it.. is that ok or should i try to make a pet of him and bring him to the house and feed him as i have read in your artical?

  129. tracy

    On October 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I really don”t want to kill him !!!!

  130. Violet

    On February 26, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Togot, I have a couple questions if you don’t mind.

    My 8 year old found a salamander at school and brought it home. She says it is hurt, but I am not quite sure. on its tail is a very sticky like glue, and stuck to it is grass, leaf particals very very small sticks. I ran its tail under water but the stuff wont come off… it is stickyer then slug slime. Do you know what it could be, My daughter seems to think its tail was stepped on. We think it is a male by bulging at the base of the tail or as my daughter says “bubble butted” If it is indeed injured I would love to know how we can help it. Thanks

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